Illness narratives: a linguistic study of gender and identity in patients' accounts
DE MARTINO, MARCO (2001) Illness narratives: a linguistic study of gender and identity in patients' accounts. [Tesi di dottorato] (Inedito)
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The illness narratives are generally conceived as patients? written and/or oral accounts about their illnesses and the effect on their lives. Both oral and written illness narratives help to configure and articulate experiences and events that change one's life and its prerequisites as a result of illness. The aim of this thesis is to answer the following questions: Do men and women "do" illness differently as they "do" gender (in the sense of performing it) in many different ways? If so, why do men and women "do" gender and illness so differently? A corpus of 2 million words on oral illness narratives of UK patients was collected and then subjected to a keyword analysis. The corpus was split into two sub-corpora depending on pathologies: the first, named ?gender corpus? deals with cancers affecting primary and secondary sexual organs, whereas the reference subcorpus contains all the other conditions. The corpora were compared in order to obtain a "gender" KW list. Proper nouns and technical words relating to the content were removed from the lists prior to analysis. Afterwards, the "gender" subcorpus was further split into men and women cancer. The sub-corpora were compared together, resulting in separate keyword lists for each. Proper nouns and technical words relating to the content were discarded from these lists as well. This thesis examines a number of keywords in detail, using concordance analyses, in order to identify different discourses (ways of looking at the world) of gender and identity that speakers access in order to make sense of illness in their lives. I also explore key clusters and key semantic categories and also compare the whole corpus to a reference corpus of general British English.
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